Minister ‘holds the power to kill and kill’ Djokovic’s visa

Minister 'holds the power to kill and kill' Djokovic's visa 5

Minister ‘holds the power to kill and kill’ Djokovic’s visa

In today’s online trial, judge Anthony Kelly announced that Novak Djokovic won his lawsuit against the Australian government, forcing the country’s officials to restore the visa of the Serbian world number one tennis player.

According to Judge Kelly, the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa under Article 116 of the Australian Immigration Act was `unreasonable`, because it took place before the deadline announced to the tennis player for him to `consult others` and submit his application.

However, this ruling does not guarantee that Djokovic can stay in Australia and attend the 2022 Australian Open to defend his championship.

During today’s hearing, lawyer representing the Australian government Christopher Tran said Minister Hawke would consider whether to use `personal power` to cancel Djokovic’s visa again.

`After today’s court decision, the Immigration Minister still has the sole discretion to decide whether to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa under his personal power as stipulated in Article 133C(3) of the Immigration Law,` the spokesman said.

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke at a press conference at the parliament building in Canberra in October 2021.

Mr Hawke was initially expected to make a decision within four hours of the judge ruling.

Under Section 133C(3), Australia’s Migration Act 1958, the Immigration Minister has the power to cancel a person’s visa contrary to a court decision if it is judged to be in the public interest.

However, not all visa cancellation requests are forwarded directly to the Australian Immigration Minister.

Also according to the above law, if a person’s visa is canceled under Article 116, then the court decides that there are no grounds for visa cancellation, the Immigration Minister has the right to reject the decision and cancel this person’s visa once.

This `personal power` will be exercised if the Immigration Minister judges that the grounds for cancellation of a visa under Article 116 are well-founded, or the visa holder fails to satisfy the Minister that such grounds do not exist,

Therefore, Hawke will play a role in determining Djokovic’s visa as well as his future at the Australian Open.

In case Hawke cancels his visa, Djokovic can still appeal, but has almost no chance of winning against the `personal power` of the Immigration Minister, according to observers.

Minister 'holds the power to kill and kill' Djokovic's visa

Djokovic in a match in 2018. Photo: AP.

Hawke was appointed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as Immigration Minister in a cabinet reshuffle in December 2020.

Immigration Minister Hawke is said to have a very close personal relationship with Prime Minister Morrison.

Reuters news agency said that Djokovic may be a victim of a political war in Australia, between the right-wing federal government of Prime Minister Morrison and the left-leaning government of Victoria state led by Prime Minister Dan Andrews.

Under Australia’s federal system, states and territories can approve medical exemptions from foreign nationals.

The state of Victoria approved a medical exemption for Djokovic, but as soon as the tennis player flew to Melbourne on January 5, Prime Minister Morrison immediately intervened, asking competent officials to deny him entry.

`Anyone coming to Australia must comply with immigration regulations,` he said.

Chip Le Grand, commentator for The Age, said that the court’s verdict shows that Australian border officers are the ones breaking the law, not the world’s number one tennis player.

`The answer is vaccination. But if Djokovic had done so from the beginning, the world would probably never have witnessed so clearly how Australia protected its fortress,` Le Grand wrote.

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